Pennisetum villosum (Poaceae)

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Pennisetum villosum (Poaceae)

Alternative common names:

Veergras,haarwurmgras (Afrikaans)


A sparsely branching, perennial grass which is open and creeping with feathery, spike-like inflorescences. The bristles are long and detach with the spikelets. Leaves are up to 40cm long and are not rigid or ending with sharp points. Inflorescence 40-70mm long and is white or light brown. This grass invades roadsides and disturbed sites and has a preference for colder areas.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

North Africa (Ethiopia)

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Existing legislation: CARA 2002 - Category 1 NEMBA - Category 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Gauteng and Free State

How does it spread?

Spread by rhizomes and seed

Why is it a problem?

Forms stands along road verges and in other disturbed sites thus competing with indigenous species. It has the potential to spread into adjacent natural veld

What does it look like?

General description: Tufted rhizomatous perennial grass to 90cm high.
Leaves: 6mm wide to 30cm long; ligule a fringe of hairs to 2mm long.
Flowers: Seedhead is a dense spike 2-12cm long and to 2cm wide. Flowers in summer and autumn.
Fruit/Seeds: Surrounded at base by light green or white (rarely purplish) bristles 3-7cm long, inner bristles feather-like, bristles not joined at the base

Does the plant have any uses?

Used as an ornament and for cover/binder

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